Some of my favorite memories of the current/last generation of consoles came from the original Bioshock. Great gameplay, mysterious and creepy location with terrifying enemies, and a story that didn’t make sense until the end, where all the pieces came together. The next game to be released in the series was Bioshock 2, however, the original developer, Irrational Games, didn’t make it, letting 2K Marin take the helm. The game was average to say the least, with it dumbing down the story, but making some necessary improvements to the combat, which was a little outdated by the time Bioshock 2 came out. Now with the original developer back, can they reclaim the magic of the original with Bioshock Infinite? Read my review to find out.
To sum it up in one sentence, Bioshock Infinite is an almost near perfect game.
The year is 1912. You play as Booker DeWitt, A man from New York, with an unknown, crippling debt. However, he is given the opportunity to wipe the debt away by bringing the man he owes a girl “locked in a tower” from cloud city of Columbia. The game starts off, reminding you of the first game, walking up to a lighthouse, in the middle of the ocean. You find an odd looking chair, sit down and you are flown up to Columbia. Columbia is an ultra-nationalistic city that eventually seceded from the United States, after deeming they could “Survive on their own.” The city worships the founding fathers and the city’s founder, known by the name of Comstock, a prophet to the people of Columbia, saying he can predict the future of the city. The people of Columbia call it a new Eden, and worship Comstock for bringing them there. Booker eventually finds himself wanted dead by Comstock, calling him the “False Shepard” with an AD mark on his hand. The Lamb to this false Shepard would be Elizabeth, the girl trapped in a tower in Columbia. She is extremely important to Comstock and the men who Booker owes.
Just like the 4 games before it, (Both System Shock games, and both original Bioshock games) revealed the story with audio logs, it’s no different in this game. They’re creepy as ever. The sound of a man screaming before the log cuts out always gets to me. The setting of Columbia doesn’t quite make the story as creepy as the original Bioshock, but it’s still good, with some interesting twists. The character Elizabeth herself is a subject I want to touch base on. Normally, escort missions suck. We know this as gamers. However, the way the character is portrayed is so great that you don’t even notice. You, as Booker, actually hold her back during the gameplay, since she doesn’t get hurt, and supplies you with ammo and health. She brings back memories of being a child and watching classic Disney movies (especially Beauty and the Beast). It’s like an adult fairy tale. She isn’t a dumbass, like most escort mission characters. She isn’t portrayed as realistic, but not cartoony as well. I’ve heard stories of people just turning around and looking at Liz just to see how she’s reacting to the current problem, and you can easily see with her body language, I’ve done the same thing. If it’s good, she looks like she’s having fun. If it’s bad, she has a concerned look on her face. It’s a perfect middle ground. Her character is one of the best companions I’ve had in a game, and by the end, you really care for her, and what happens to her.
Why is Elizabeth important to Comstock? Why is Booker the “False Shepard?” Well, I don’t like spoilers in my reviews, so play the damn game yourself! (Spoiler alert: It’s worth the $60.)
The city of Columbia is one of the most creative locations I’ve ever seen in a game, matching the same feeling felt when I played the original Bioshock. The amount of detail put into the fantasy world of Columbia blows my mind. From walking through a cult of John Wilkes Booth worshipers, to the bombardment of American propaganda all around the city, this game definitively doesn’t fall flat in the creativity department. There are so many moments in this game like this that I can’t describe in a review, nor do I want to, because it would spoil the magic the game has. Go experience it for yourself. However, one thing that gives Columbia a step up from Rapture is the Skylines. Skylines are rails that allow you to quickly fly around the city like a rollercoaster. They are fun, fast, and easy to use, and are a big help in combat, letting you get to cover quickly and start firing back at an enemy. Riding on a skyline, shooting rockets at a blimp, dodging enemy fire from a robotic George Washington has never been so much fun.
The gameplay in Bioshock Infinite goes back to the original game, being single wielding. The combat is even more refined, feeling smoother than the last 2 games. There are no Plasmids, those haven’t been invented yet in this game, now there are Vigors, which basically have the same effect, except they are drank, and they don’t use ADAM, which again, hasn’t been invented/discovered yet in this game. Vigors/plasmids are now secondary weapons, almost being “grenade-like.” (That was the best analogy I could come up with.) Instead of the powers being their own mode/set of weapons, and having to switch and equip them with weapons, you can now easily use a power with the press of the button and still have your gun equipped. Also, instead of having just an armada of weapons in the first game, which had you running around with 6 weapons, you are now limited to 2, like most modern first person shooters. Personally, I didn’t like this. When the original let you carry all the weapons at once, it felt like an old school shooter like Doom or Duke Nukem. Now, with the limit of 2 weapons, it feels more realistic, but it still had me craving for the old school feel of the original. (Also, Duke Nukem Forever did the exact same thing, and look how that turned out.) But even with this little complaint, the combat is still fun as hell. One second you’re riding a skyline, jumping off, and bashing a man’s head with your skyhook on your way down. Some of the best shooter gameplay I’ve played in a long time. Now a major part of the combat and gameplay is Elizabeth. The game flat out tells you, “You don’t need to protect Elizabeth.” That mechanic alone puts the game above all escort missions I’ve ever played. Her A.I. is perfect, almost never leaving your side. She helps out by finding health and ammo packs around the battlefield and tossing them to you. Also, her secret, which is revealed relatively early in the game, is used as a mechanic, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. To sum it up, the combat and gameplay in Infinite is pretty damn good.
Bioshock Infinite is one of the best games of this generation. The main problem I have with Infinite is that it plays more like a modern FPS rather than a throwback to old school shooters like Doom. However, the game’s story more than makes up for it, with its creative characters, narrative, and storytelling, and an ending that will blow your mind. Seriously, I spent like 2 hours trying to understand it. This game (Infinite) should have either been what the original Bioshock did with System Shock, (a spiritual successor) or perhaps a new IP all together. But even with these extremely minor complaints, Bioshock Infinite as a whole is a nearly perfect game, well worth a hard earned $60. To quote Adam Sessler of Revision 3/g4, “This game will be talked about for a long, long time.” So what are you doing? Go buy this game now.
I give it a 9/10.